Monday, June 26, 2006

Dear Knitters

Bitchin'! Stitch n' Bitchin'!
Thanks to my dear SnB'er, Miss Paige, I've got myself the front of a vest. A drop stitch vest. Oh, and how lovely it is to have four...FOUR...extra skeins left over after I've completed this thing. Whee! More stash!

Another lovely thing about this vest (well, this half of this vest) is that half of it (perhaps this half?) was purchased by Michael. Yes, that's right. Not only does Michael help me indulge in this passion, but he accompanies me TO YARN STORES and PURCHASES YARN FOR ME.
I've had some women hit on him at these stores, but I'm very territorial of my man. He will not get away.

I realize the idea of this vest if very simple. Drop a stitch. Let it fall. The unravelling of the stitch makes this vest sexy and cool and funky and pretty. The cotton shimmers a bit and inspires me to imagine myself in bows and ribbons and all that is feminine. Again, I'm struck with this knitting magic. I do not really understand any of this. It's just mystical for me; I can't explain decreases, bind-offs, increases, shoulders, reversing (well, that's just a big bungle for me). It just happens as I go. Or, not. But here she is: my first (half) of a real piece of clothing.

I'm excited. Are you? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dear Knitters

Warning: I shall be waxing poetic in following epistle. Hold on to your strands.

Mercerized cotton is something to fear. It is light; probably considered a sportweight and not a bulky or sock weight. It is not something one knits on large needles. It is slippery and shivering and it takes HOURS to knit up 108 yards of the stuff in Stockinette stitch. Sure, sure, I know the definition of mercerized, and you can read about it here. Very informative. But I think mercerized is merely a code word for Patience.

I began knitting because it looked like something people enjoyed doing, for whatever reason. I thought perhaps it was the community that knitting has inspired; I wanted to gain more friends through knitting. And I have.

Through those first awkward days of holding the needles like a child holding a pen for the first time, and through the uneven stitches of my first swatch, I thought about what I was doing and couldn't wait to complete a project--a whole, entire project!--and show it to others, so that while they oooh-ed and aaaah-ed over the fabric, I could beam and say, "I made it myself!"
And then, I finished the first project--and was dismayed. It looked horrible. It's nothing I can wear in public seriously. It has holes and dropped stitches and uneven ribs and ghastly bumps everywhere. So, if I did say anything like "I made it myself!" it would sound more like a plea for pity.

But I keep knitting.

As the weeks have passed, I have made with reasonable success a shawl and two hats. I have succeeded in making a lace capelet but I hated the end result so much that I frogged the entire thing (rippit! rippit!) and sigh often, thinking about the yarn that is currently sitting in my yellow plastic bag housing my stash.

These finished products are no Vogue cover, I assure you. They are well-followed instructions, merely--kind enough to fall into the pattern intended. I do not think people shall be stopping me on the street to inquire "WhereEVER did you buy such a GORGEOUS shawl?" However, the shawl will keep me warm. So, I am successful, yes?

I have decided to try my hand at something a bit more complicated. Not much, mind you. I can't go near double pointed needles anytime soon without getting an image of one jumping up and sticking me in the eye. Socks are not in my future. No, this is a vest--a cute little pattern of a thing found in the SnB Nation (the same culprit that convinced me to attempt the Spiderweb Capelet). It calls for nine skeins of mercerized cotton on size five needles. I moved up to size six.

It's taking forever.

In three days, I have not yet knit up one ball. I have seven inches of Stockinette stitch. At the very bottom corner, I somehow put an eyelet in and the hole is quite visible. Three inches up from that, I dropped two stitches and attempted to weave them back in, making a very obvious botched attempt at correcting the problem. I'm too lazy to go back and fix those stitches properly, so the fabric has wiggled a bit at that edge. I'm hoping seaming will fix this. Throughout the fabric, there are little slubs where I either lost tension or changed some small part of my routine--only noticeable in bright light. My hands hurt after working for an hour or so, because of the small needles. I have very little confidence in my ability to pull this off. So why do I persist?

Because I am finding that I do not knit for the sake of completing a beautiful product. I knit because I am looking for peace. And this activity brings it to me. I knit myself into Zen, truly. The other day, I was sitting in silence, watching the litany of my hands weave this slippery, shiny cotton, and I began to fall asleep even as I knit. This is a state I have only read of in transcendent Buddhist philosophy. I had to shake myself before I saw a lotus flower in my purls.

I knit because I have bonded with a woman I have never met. I knit because I have met three wonderful women who I already consider dear friends even though I have known them less than two months. I knit because strangers email me about sales on Addi Turbos. I knit because I am creating a story of peace as I weave one strand with another, over and over and over. I knit, therefore, I am.

So: if the day ever comes that I create a flawless fabric that shimmers against my skin perfectly, and cries out "art d'object!" and gathers crowds of admirers, I will be pleased momentarily. When I finish this vest, with its slubs and holes and dropped stitches, and I press it against my skin, it's pink, pink shine smiling in spite of itself, I will merely be glad to know I possessed the patience and peace needed for mercerized cotton.

And then, I shall begin to knit anew.

My Lotus Flower
My very own lotus flower....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dear Knitters

Well. It finally happened. The first failed project, sans pictures. I wasn't going to go that low.
I was not going to document my failings in PICTURES.

Remember that Merino Frappe my dear Stuntmother sent me for a gift? Remember how it would make a capelet? A capelet from Stitch N' Bitch Nation? Remember how I wondered if I could do it, being a knewly knitter?

Well, there's good news: I CAN do it.

The bad news: I finished it. And I absolutely hated it. Firstly, it would have fit a three year old. All right, strike that. It would have fit a slender, medium framed woman. Not a size twelve woman with shoulders like a Nebraska farmer. Not a woman who is prideful of her neck muscles, and flexes them with might. Nope. It looked like a doily collar on me.

(sigh). I'm putting this wondeful Merino Frappe away. I am disgraced and ashamed. I don't know what to do with it. I hope Stuntmother will forgive me. After all. She got me into this new passion. Surely, she can't hold it against me too long.

She's just a space diva of knitting.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a surprise for one of my favorite bloggers out there--Spinning Girl. Get ready. It's not all that exciting, but who doesn't like little gifts of yarn? I sure do. Hopefully, she will, too!

Edit: Numerous knitting podcasts have evidenced something of great import:
Knitting snobs exist. And oy, are they ever pervasive.
We need podcasts for new knitters. And we need to incorporate knitters who are POOR. And haven't heard all about this eclectic stuff. And aren't necessarily living and breathing the northeastern blue blood lifestyle.
(I'm allowed to say that--Grandma is a registered Daughter of the Revolution).
Grumble, grumble. This knitter is going back to her plain ol' boring yarn surprise for Spinning Girl. I feel incredibly inadequate.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dear Knitters

I am on a knitting roll. Delilah helped model this fabulous mohair shawl with ladder yarn embellishments. Now, I realize that it simply looks like a blanket shaped like a triangle. Yes, astute knitters, I understand that is what a shawl is...but there is no pattern involved in this. This project was simply a first 'big piece of wearable yarn' project, but I do believe I was wise in choosing mohair in Foxy Fuschia as my medium. As one can observe, the cat is enthralled by it, and has claimed it as her own. Ah! I shall wrest it back from her without delay...this is to be my 'honeymoon snuggle shawl'. I cannot wait to drape it over my shoulders in the evenings at St. Lucia.

I was concerned that it would not be large enough for my frame, as I have rather broad shoulders and not a little bit of bosom. As it turns out, this shawl drapes around my waist with plenty of give for adjustments. Should I lose more weight, I'll be able to wrap it even closer. I'm simply delighted that the bottom tassle falls just beneath my bum, creating a tail for me to swish, and keep bugs away. I'll pose in it later, and have Michael take a picture, but for now, I am DONE with this particular project and will be moving along to something else.*

*perhaps the capelet, Stuntmother? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dear Knitters

What does this look like to you? Hmmm? Does it look like.....RIBBING???Well, it is, thankyouverymuch. It is ribbing. And it is absolutely perfect. But wait! Wait! There's MORE!
It's a freakin' HAT. By Goly I finished knitting an entire HAT. Sure it only took me about ninety tries before I got the pattern established but hey! Who's counting?? Not me, that's for sure, knitters. That's for sure. (Could my nose look any bigger in that picture? And where did the rest of my face go? That's wierd).
It's actually a hat for Michael, but he wasn't around to model. However, he does love it, so not only was this my first ribbing, my first hat, but also my first gift for someone else. All and all, I'm impressed. Just don't look too close at the center--you'll see the cinch point. Otherwise...

...This Hat is a Wrap! Posted by Picasa